The USPS how and why of upselling

The following is an actual conversation I had at the post office last week:

Me: "I'd like to send this package."
Postmaster: "How would you like to send it?"
M: Which ever way is cheapest.
P: Express mail is $33.95, Priority is $13.50
M: What about Parcel Post?
P: That would be $8.50, but it will take 6 days to get there.
M: I'm okay with that, I just want what's cheapest.
P: Would you like Delivery Confirmation?
M: No
P: Insurance?
M: NO. I need to send this too. How ever is least expensive. (I tried slowing down and phrasing it differently because I think sometimes I just don't speak clearly and maybe that's why the kids and Postmaster can't understand me very well).
P: Express mail is $10.15, Priority is $4.80.
M: What about First Class?
P: That is $1.80.
M: Then that's what I'd like.
P: Would you like Delivery Confirmation?
M: No
P: Insurance?
M: No.
P: Stamps?
M: Yes, please.
P: Roll of 100 for $42.00 or book of 20 for $8.40?
M: Book of 20, thank you.
P: We also have a collector's stamp yearbook for $64.95?
M: No thanks.
P: Stationary? Gifts? Pre-inked rubber stamps?
M: NO!!!

I find upselling surprisingly annoying at the post office. While I would expect it at a retail business, I don't expect it from a government agency. I googled this phenomenon, and what I found (in an online news mag for postal employees) will interest you:

The USPS upsells because...... they employ MYSTERY SHOPPERS! Window clerks are required to suggest a greater-priced item or service not once, (like most businesses), but FIVE times!!

So next time I'm in the post office, I think I will just stop them beforehand and reassure them I am not a mystery shopper, and to please go ahead and not offer me anything else except the ABSOLUTE-LEAST-EXPENSIVE-COSTING LESS-MONEY-MY-HUSBAND-DOESN'T-WORK method of shipping. I'll let you know how it goes.


Tiburon said...

Geez those USPS employees make me crazy! I feel your pain. You should go postal on them! :)

SiouxsieQ said...

Man, lighten up on your poor postal worker! He/she is probably really lonely and has to go home to an empty house and his/her cat has run away and he/she sees the empty cat bowl and remembers how soft and friendly Fluffy was, and sadly, the only conversation he/she gets to have is with people at the post office who just want to ship packages. So, it stands to reason he/she would want to prolong the exchange as long as possible. :-) P.S. You are not allowed to feel bad about this comment. Your post was, as usual, extremely funny and clever. I'm just trying to live up to your example. :-)

buzz e. boddy said...

I'm not a graphologist or anything, but I'm guessing that you are projecting the pent up hostility you feel toward your own disfunction upon those poor hardworking folk down at the local post office. I'd suggest that you use the energy spent by your razor sharp wit on searching your heart to find the real root of your dissatisfaction with this world.

Remember, when you point your finger, there are four more pointing back at you.

Burt said...

That Buzz guy is a real dandy - he's one to be giving advice about talking about others.

I don't recall anyone asking for his lame opinion about your disfunction. Maybe he should just SHUT UP!

Buzz said...


It seems as though you have a little disfunction yourself. Perhaps you went to the same school of abrasiveness as the author of this blog. I'm simply suggesting that a little introspection rather than berating hard working members of our society is a better use of time.

Burt said...

Buzz - you can take your "introspection" and shove it in the intersection of legs and torso! Your five cent lemonade stand psychology sucks almost as much as you do. The author of this blog has more intellect in her little buffalo tuna nacho making finger than you will ever possess.

Buzz said...


You have hurt my feelings and I expect an apology.

Dollymama said...

I experience this every time i go to a post office that is not in my own small town. I absolutely hate being told what every type of more expensive postage would cost, when I have clearly stated that I want to send the item MEDIA MAIL or whatever.

Thankfully, in my own town, they see me pretty often, and I tell them what I want and that is what I get (unless there is a cheaper option, which they always mention).

I asked about it once and my favorite postal worker told me that they are actually required to do that whole upsell thing that you described. I am so thankful that my small town USPS is bucking the system.